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Thesis Award

The Outstanding Thesis Award

  • About the award

    The Outstanding Thesis Award was established in 2016 to recognize a student graduating from a thesis‐based master’s or doctoral program whose thesis represents an original work that makes a substantial contribution to the discipline.

    A maximum of one award will be presented annually in each of the master’s and doctoral categories:

    • Master’s Thesis Award: This award recognizes a master’s student who has written an outstanding master’s thesis and whose thesis has made (or is expected to make) a significant contribution to their field.  The recipient will receive a monetary award and a recognition plaque.
    • Doctoral Thesis Award: This award recognizes a PhD student who has written an outstanding doctoral thesis that represents a remarkably impactful contribution to their field of research.  The recipient will receive a monetary award and a recognition plaque.
  • Eligibility criteria

    The award is open to all students who have completed a thesis-based graduate program and meet the following criteria:

    • Recommendation for Awards Form completed by the thesis/external examiner of the thesis.
    • Obtained a GPA of 3.7 or higher in their program.
    • The outcome of their thesis defence was either Acceptable without Required Revisions or Acceptable with Minor Revisions.
    • No academic offenses on their record.

    Note: students who submit their thesis to SGPS after the winter submission deadline will be considered in the following year’s competition. 

  • Nomination process

    Master’s thesis and doctoral external examiners nominate exceptional theses after a thesis defence.

    Each faculty will create a selection committee who will be notified of the nominated students. They will be permitted to nominate one student in each category. The SGPS Awards Committee will review each faculty’s application package.

    Each eligible graduate program that is considered cross‐faculty can also directly nominate a student in each category. 

  • Application process

    The nomination package for each candidate must include:

    • Nomination form
    • Nomination letter (two pages maximum) written by the Faculty Selection Committee nominator(s) summarizing why the candidate’s thesis is outstanding and outlining the significance of the candidate’s scholarly work. The letter must clearly identify how the nominee meets the award evaluation criteria.
    • Curriculum vitae of the nominee
    • Copy of the thesis
    • Copy of the Recommendation for Awards Form completed by the external examiner of the thesis.
    • Copy of the Thesis/External Examiner’s Report. Doctoral candidates must also include the University Examiner’s Report on the thesis.
    • Copy of the Chair’s Report on Thesis Examination

    The electronic application package should be submitted as one PDF via email to

  • Nomination deadline

    The award will be given out on an annual basis corresponding with convocation ceremonies in June. As such, the submission deadline for application packages will normally be after the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS) post-exam thesis package deadline. Each year SGPS will circulate the deadline date as part of the call for nominations announcement sent to each faculty. 

    All eligible candidates must have defended their thesis and completed all degree requirements no more than one year prior to the submission deadline.

    All nominees will be notified of their status after public announcement of the award recipients.

  • Selection process and award criteria

    The award will be selected by the SGPS Awards Committee. This committee is chaired by the Dean of SGPS or their designate.  The committee will consist of no more than three graduate faculty members who do not have a conflict of interest with any nominee. The membership should also have a diverse representation of research disciplines.

    The committee will evaluate the candidates’ nominations using the following criteria:

    • The scholarly accomplishments that have arisen from the thesis research. This can include peer‐reviewed articles, research monographs, patents and other creative works.
    • The significance of any research breakthrough or major advance made by the nominee’s thesis research.
    • Awards and other forms of recognition for research accomplishments by professional societies.
    • The current and future impact of the thesis research on society.

    The committee will recommend nominees for each award to the Dean of SGPS.

  • Award presentation
    Each thesis award consists of a recognition plaque. The thesis awards will normally be publicly announced during the convocation ceremony.
  • Winners and nominees